Bill To Turn Off NSA’s Water At Massive Utah Data Facility Moves Forward

Giuseppe Macri Tech Editor
Font Size:

In the latest state-led move to curb National Security Agency spying, the Utah legislature advanced a bill this week to turn off the water to NSA’s massive data gathering facility in Bluffdale, which uses more than $30,000 taxpayer dollars-worth of water every month.

The bill, which “prohibits cooperation between a federal agency that collects electronic data and any political subdivisions of the state” went before the Utah State Legislature’s Public Utilities and Technology Interim Committee this week according to Ars Technica. If passed, the bill would terminate water service to the facility by the City of Bluffdale after the current contract expires.

The facility just south of Salt Lake City made minimum payments of $31,692 a month for water in 2014 according to The Salt Lake Tribune, despite using 4.8 million gallons of water in January and 2.7 million in February, indicating the facility is likely non-operational or not operating at full capacity.

In terms of power the facility draws a constant 65 megawatts of electricity — enough to power a city of at least 20,000 according to The Wall Street Journal, which reported last October that 10 massive power surges over 13 months destroyed hundreds of thousands in equipment, delaying the facility’s opening for a year.

Wired reported in 2012 that the $2 billion facility was originally expected to open in September 2013 to conduct code-breaking operations and collect “in near-bottomless databases… all forms of communication, including the complete contents of private emails, cell phone calls, and Google searches, as well as all sorts of personal data trails — parking receipts, travel itineraries, bookstore purchases, and other digital ‘pocket litter.'”

“Everybody’s a target,” a top intelligence official said in the report, more than one year before the leak of bulk domestic surveillance programs by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden. “[E]verybody with communication is a target.”

The legislation is one of many similar bills popping up in state governments across the country including in Washington, where a bill proposed in the state legislature earlier this year lays down a swatch of punishments for public and private entities providing services to NSA locations including fines, firings and jail time. (RELATED: Washington State Wants To Make Servicing The NSA A Crime)

Follow Giuseppe on Twitter and Facebook

Tags : nsa utah
Giuseppe Macri